Tips For A Stress-Free School Year

By: Mollie Shauger | Thursday, August 8, 2019 | Child Care

Children get ready to board a school bus. Credit: iStock

It always seems like the school year is here before summer’s over. From shopping to signing up for after-school activities, there’s a lot to do before that first day of school.

Here are some tips to help you ease back into a new school year and routine, including strategies from the educational nonprofit, GreatSchools.

Get into a routine

  • Sleep is important for kids’ health, and it helps them stay focused during the school day. Children in grade school should get at least 9 to 12 hours of sleep, and teens should have 8 to 10 hours of sleep. Don’t wait until the weekend before school starts to start a new bedtime routine; start a few weeks before and gradually move bedtime back to an earlier start. 
  • Also, establish school-day schedules for homework, TV, baths and brushing teeth, and bedtime. Try to keep bedtime routines around 30 minutes
  • Write each task out or get your child involved and make it creative.

Get organized

  • Fill out any necessary paperwork before the first day. Have immunization records ready.
  • Update school emergency contact and health information.
  • Mark important dates such as back-to-school nights and holidays on the calendar.
  • Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find and refer to them if necessary.

Plan out the day

  • Decide how your child will get to and from school - by bus, walking or drop-off.
  • Determine backup transportation in case of an emergency.
  • If your child will need child care before school or after school, many places like the YMCA require registration ahead of time. Determine the amount of time you’ll need, the costs and the required registration forms.

Create a supply list

  • Figure out what your child can reuse from previous years and what they will need for this year. Many schools send out supply lists or put them online before school starts. 
  • Make a list of everything that’s needed so you can check off items as you go, and to avoid any last-minute panic.
  • Families with children in elementary school through high school are expected to spend nearly $700 on average during their back-to-school shopping.To save money, look for sales and compare stores, or check out thrift stores. 
  • The same goes for lunches. Buy healthy food and snack items when they are on sale or buy them in larger quantities, so you’re ultimately paying less.

Communicate with teachers and staff

  • Connect with your child’s teacher, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They want your child to be prepared as much as you do. 
  • Connect with other parents through social groups or volunteer organizations.

Talk enthusiastically about school

Creating a positive message around school will help your child look forward to going and help reduce their anxiety about a new school year. Talk about all the new things they’ll learn, friends they’ll meet, and activities they’ll get to do.

Plan the “night before”

  • To save time in the morning, pick out clothes for the next day - or even for the whole week. 
  • Pack lunches and snacks the night before.
  • Put folders, books and anything else that is needed in their backpack the night before, so it’s ready to go in the morning. 

The Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges can assist you in the transition back to school. Contact your local Y branch to learn more about child care and early learning programs that are offered. Because the Y is for all, financial assistance is available to eligible families and individuals who would like to be part of the YMCA.



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